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May 13, 2013 | by  | in Opinion |
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An Embarrassment to All Tories

By the time you read this on Monday, it is highly likely that National Party list MP for nowhere in particular, Aaron Gilmore, will have left Parliament. If he hasn’t, this columnist will be extremely surprised. Freddie Hayek has only been in the presence of Mr Gilmore once, and it was enough. A vulgar, arrogant boor of a man, Mr Gilmore is symptomatic of everything wrong with our warped electoral system MMP, not the National Party.

You see, like it or not, it is really only the party vote that matters in the MMP environment. In an effort to raise the party vote, political parties in New Zealand run ‘kamikaze candidates’, in seats they are never going win. In 2008 Aaron Gilmore ran in Christchurch East, one of Labour’s safest seats. He lost but scraped in as National’s last list MP. In 2011 he ran again, and this is where it gets interesting. National actually won the party vote (13,252 versus Labour’s 9100), something which in itself is pretty shocking. However, on the electorate vote, Gilmore lost to Labour incumbent Lianne Dalziel. Badly. Dalziel won 15,559 to 10,225. That means roughly 3000 people who voted for National with their party vote, voted against Aaron Gilmore with their electorate vote. Astonishing, for people who had never met Aaron Gilmore.

As for his behaviour during the 2008-2011 term, and his brief 2013 revival, his lack of promotion speaks for itself. Every other National MP elected in his Class of 2008 has gone on to be either a cabinet minister, whip or select committee chair. Mr Gilmore has never been trusted with a whiff of responsibility. Party members also ranked Mr Gilmore lowest of incumbent MPs on the 2011 National Party list. Perhaps there are good reasons for this lack of advancement?

Ultimately, Mr Gilmore is a product of our shoddy electoral system. Needing a candidate both wealthy enough and foolish enough to commit to raising the party vote for National in a safe Labour seat for six months, occasionally when National gets a good result, people never meant to become MPs will enter Parliament. Mere lobby fodder, Gilmore could never have won an electorate under First-Past-the-Post. He would never have won a National Party selection in the good old days.

So in closing, resign Mr Gilmore, because…

Don’t you know who I am?

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